Friday, November 13, 2015

Adjusting My Voice On LinkedIn, Without Sarcasm

Sarcasm has long been one of my favorite accents. It can be appropriate in sparing amounts. It can also be too much of a good thing. Branding myself as all sarcastic, all the time, in front of all audiences has outlived its usefulness. Observing my personal brand through someone else's eyes made me realize it needs some polish.

I made some significant wording changes to my LinkedIn profile. I removed all of the sarcastic references to my former employers in finance and my alumni associations. I re-worded those experiences to describe my roles there in a more balanced way. I cannot be angry forever. Permanent anger is not a healthy way to see the world or approach people. It no longer matters whether privileged people treated me poorly. Bad people will always exist and they do not belong in my life. The bitterness I reserved for them on my LinkedIn profile allowed them to remain as burdens in my life. It is time to move on to greener pastures.

Readers will still see my Financial Sarcasm Roundups every week or so on this blog. I can still reserve my sharpest barbs for news makers whose affronts are too egregious for polite commentary. It is a weapon I should use sparingly rather than habitually. Maybe someone important will surprise me by making a smart decision for a change.

Public image is a component of leadership. Consider two different US Army generals in World War II: Joseph Stilwell and Dwight Eisenhower. Gen Stilwell's nickname was "Vinegar Joe" due to his penchant for sarcastic, prejudiced comments. Historians regarded him as marginally successful leading the China Burma India Theater, but he could have accomplished much more if he had gotten along with others. Gen. Eisenhower spent years cultivating an optimistic, confident outlook. His personal skills paid off in building the multinational coalition that liberated Europe. Gen. Stilwell is mostly a historical footnote today. Gen. Eisenhower's victories live forever in glory. How they viewed themselves and the world determined how they led their people.

One of the Internet memes going around is built on Ayesha A. Siddiqi's great Twitter quote, "Be the person you needed when you were younger." A growing child doesn't need a steady diet of vinegar. Optimism and confidence are much healthier.